Cause and Effect: Binge Drinking and Diabetes

Alcohol and Diabetes

Think the binge drinking you did in college was just good old-fashioned fun? Think again. New research is showing that binge drinking, common among partying college students for decades, may play a big role in the development of Type-2 diabetes.

More than Harmless Fun

For thousands of college students, the weekend is a time to get drunk and blow off steam. And to accomplish this as quickly as possible, many of them practice what has become known as binge drinking: for men, consuming five or more drinks in a two-hour period. Although this type of drinking has always been found on college campuses, it is also becoming common in the general population. In fact, an estimated 69 percent of binge drinking occurs in those over the age of 26. Once thought of as harmless fun with friends, we now know that binge drinking at least once a week over a period of time may cause changes in the brain that have far-reaching health implications.

New Insight from Studies with Rats

Scientists have long recognized a connection between the use of alcohol and the incidence of diabetes. Heavy drinking can lead to pancreatitis, and diabetes is a common side effect of this condition. In addition, alcohol is high in calories and may contribute to obesity which is a direct cause of Type-2 diabetes.

Now, researchers at Mt. Sinai Medical Center have discovered alcohol-induced changes in the brain which provide a direct link between binge drinking and diabetes. When rats were given alcohol in amounts equivalent to binge drinking in humans, inflammation occurred in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that controls metabolic functions. This, in turn, disrupted the brain signals which trigger insulin receptors to utilize glucose in the blood. In humans, this “insulin resistance” leads to chronically high amounts of glucose in the bloodstream and is a primary indicator of Type-2 diabetes.

Complications of Unchecked Diabetes

Why should you worry about diabetes? Left untreated, this condition can seriously affect your health, longevity, and quality of life. Just a few of the complications include:

  • Blindness
  • Poor circulation often resulting in amputation
  • Kidney disease leading to dialysis
  • Neuropathy or loss of feeling in hands and feet
  • Coronary disease and stroke

The good news is that with early detection, treatment of Type-2 diabetes, and treatment for binge drinking addiction, most of these complications can be successfully avoided!

Are you struggling with binge drinking or alcohol and drug dependency? It’s not too late to make a change for better health. 10 Acre Ranch is a California treatment center for men 18 and older. Call 877-228-4679 to learn about our social model program and lifestyle activities. Get started on your healthier life today!